Karaoke in the crosshairs as China’s morality police vet the net

China has banned 120 “immoral” songs and ordered website administrators to remove them from their sites amid a broadening crackdown on the country’s internet content.

The announcement by the ministry of culture on Monday said the songs “trumpeted obscenity, violence, crime or harmed social morality” and those responsible for website content would face severe punishment if they were not taken down.

Five songs by the Taiwanese singer Chang Csun Yuk are included on the list, including I Love Taiwanese Girls, with the line “I don’t like Chinese women, I love Taiwanese girls”, and the song Fart, which includes the line “There are some people in the world who like farting while doing nothing”.

Another song by the mainland singer Xu Song, called Shaking Your Head for Fun, sounds the same as “head-shaking pill”, slang for the drug ecstasy.

The banned list, which contains many household and karaoke favourites, such as Beijing Hooligans, Don’t Want to Go to School and Suicide Diary, has been met with a mixed reaction online. Some commenters supported the blacklisting: “Thumbs up! Such bad taste and vulgarity. You can tell just by looking at the names!”

Other comments on China’s social media platform Weibo were more sarcastic. “Thank you ministry of culture for the recommendations!” wrote Weibo user LeOn-Off. “This is why Chinese hip-hop culture will never rise,” said another. The state media agency Xinhua said the list would be updated.

The music ban comes after a June announcement that 38 Japanese manga cartoons would be banned. At the time, 29 websites received warnings or fines for carrying shows that “encourage juvenile delinquency, glorify violence and include sexual content”, state media reports.

In a speech to China’s leading artists last year, President Xi Jinping said their work should present socialist values and not carry the “stench of money”. The speech was compared by state media with Mao Zedong’s famous Yanan talks on art and literature in 1942. – © Guardian News & Media 2015

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